How to build a professional WordPress website from scratch
WordPress is the most commonly used content management system (CMS) in the world. Many professional websites and private blogs use WordPress and exclusive WordPress web hosting providers. Recent studies have shown that more than half of the top 100 blogs in the world use WordPress. The popular attraction to WordPress comes from it’s complete ease of use for beginners and experts in categories such as maintenance and modifications.
In this article we will discuss how to acquire a domain name, how to set up web hosting, design, WordPress theme installation, Plugins, Search Engine Marketing, and more from scratch.
1. Acquire A Domain Name
If you do not already have the perfect domain name this is your first step.
CodyLima.com is the website for a musician named Cody Lima.
Brandable domain names such as Google or Instagram require a much technical, or common understanding of the domain industry in most cases.
Keyword strategy is a great way to acquire a visible WordPress website on popular search engines like Google.
CodyLima.com: When searching for “Cody Lima” on search engines, CodyLima.com has a better chance of being visible, even on the first page.
AZWebsiteDesigner.com: If someone is seeking the services of a website designer from Arizona, or AZ, AZWebsiteDesigner.com has a better chance of being visible, even in business listings and Google maps.
Choose a legal domain name. Don’t pick a domain name that slanders a company or copies their legal name. This could turn out really bad.
Choosing a domain extension .com, .net, .org, .co, .info?
A .com domain extension is always the optimal choice. If a .com is not available for your domain name of choice a .net is considered equal or a step below. But don’t let that scare your from purchasing a .co, or .org. Many .orgs are the most successful websites in the world like Wikipedia.org. The domain extension .org is considered for non profit organizations and websites.
Many online blogs downplay .info, but .info’s can be very valuable as a sub domain or in some cases alone such as pagerankchecker.info.
In conclusion to the ongoing conversations about which domain extension is best, it’s clear .com will always be statistically the most optimal choice, don’t let that discourage you from other extensions though.
Where to purchase a domain name
There are many domain registrars to choose from, the most popular being Go Daddy (which also provides hosting). You may even chose to purchase a domain from a domain auction, but those steps are not advised here.
- Finding a good price for your domain name is important, or at least it should be. The best prices for proper domains with excellent support come from online sales, codes, and sometimes affiliate links.
- You do not want a website on another websites server such as yourwebsite.anotherwebsite.com, stay clear of online companies which provide this unless it is included with development and production of your WordPress website.
2. Get WordPress Web Hosting
Web hosting is very important to the maintenance, security, accessibility, and speed of your website. If you don’t know, web hosting allows your website to be visible on the world wide web. Hosting provides server space (If you do not have your own) and connectivity to the internet.
Searching for the best web hosting prices or most powerful web hosting service is an important decision. For example, we will compare two different WordPress web hosting providers (which we use) in the categories of price and support.
Go Daddy provides web hosting which allows you to manage your WordPress application. You do not have to manually install WordPress if you host with Go Daddy, since you can manage WordPress, you can easily set it up through Go Daddy, which creates a WordPress directory in your web hosting FTP management system. Go Daddy allows you to delete and install WordPress with the click of a mouse. Botcrawl.com uses Go Daddy hosting.
Aside from the simplicity with WordPress, navigation with Go Daddy is simple. Your choices and account information, such as paid for services, FTP manager, and domain names are available when you log into their website.
- Price: Go Daddy has 4GH Economy Web Hosting for around $4.00 – $6.00 depending on different sales.
- Support: Go Daddy provides 24 hour support via help desk, email, telephone, blogs, forums, and sometimes social media.
WP Engine is considered the best web hosting available for WordPress websites. There are too many great reasons to discuss what makes WP Engine the best, so visit their website for more info. The general conversation about WP Engine is their blazing website speed, superior support, and their immense passion for web security.
WP Engine is considered 4 times faster than other blogs, which is actually quoted on their t-shirts. Their employees are career experts with WordPress, WordPress is even a WP Engine investor, ensuring complete WordPress optimization.
Because of the superior WordPress support WP Engine produces among competitors, WP Engine is also more expensive compared to other hosting packages like Go Daddy.
- Price: WP Engine has personal web hosting for WordPress starting at $29.00 a month.
- Support: WP Engine also provides 24 hour support via help desk, email, and telephone.
The main difference with any other WordPress web hosting provider and WP Engine is their intelligence and support when it comes to hosting a website on WordPress. You will recive exceptional personal support, which can be very rewarding.
3. WordPress Website Design
When it comes to designing the most professional WordPress website possible it’s important to create a website which is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Otherwise viewers will instantly leave for something better. Optimization in design is still the guideline to follow when choosing or creating the best design for your WordPress website.
- There are many options to build or find the perfect WordPress website design.
Premium WordPress Themes
Premium themes should be the only choice in optimizing your visitors experience on your website. The best premium themes are built by WordPress experts and allow many custom options for the website owner. (It is not recommended to use free WordPress themes)
Where to find premium WordPress themes
There are many websites that provide exceptional Premium themes for WordPress, but if you’re just starting out you may want a website that provides support and updates for your premium WordPress theme. Some themes are updated with such gems as “responsiveness” and some require a subscription to keep the premium theme updated. You also may want to apply custom designs to your website and need support or a solution to do so.
Theme forest has a lot of great premium WordPress themes and Plugins for a great price. Themes are sold by individual merchants, designers, and vendors and support is provided via comment or website of the theme supplier, not so much ThemeForest themselves.
- Price: Ranges $10 – $80
Mojo Themes also provides a large amount of premium WordPress themes and Plugins with approximately the same price range and support system that Themeforest employs.
Custom WordPress Designs
For some, or most it’s important to have the perfect logo for your brand or website.
Purchasing a premium logo from online companies can be expensive and building an appealing logo on your own can be time consuming and sometimes horrendous.
A recommended website for a great premium logo for your WordPress website is Graphic River.
Professional website designer:
Searching for a professional, skilled designer can be a daunting task that can leave you feeling untrustworthy of businesses you find online.
When choosing a website designer it is recommended to examine their portfolio and the traffic their primary company website receives.
- It is not suggested to choose a web designer which provides a portfolio with no links to the websites or developments they have been involved with.
- Avoid overpaying for designs by making your custom design ideas descriptive and clear to the website designer. Make sure you have documented any request you have made incase you are unsatisfied with the results.
You can search a website designer companies website rank on Alexa.com.
4. WordPress Plugins
The most common WordPress plugin types are cache plugins, SEO plugins, social bookmarking plugins, login protection plugins, comment system plugins (such as ours, allowing visitors to comment with Facebok and Twitter), database backup plugins, maintenance plugins, URL management plugins, anti spam plugins, security analysis, contact plugins and bundles which offer multiple website tools in one package.
Choosing the correct plugins is important in achieving the most professional WordPress website.
WP Engine provides cache, security, and other services which extensions provide, if you use WP Engine, consult with them for your optimal plugin choice. Some WordPress themes also provide SEO, contact, social bookmarking, and more. WordPress itself is supplied with Akismat, a popular spam service designed by the developers of WordPress and also includes a dashboard login with interface.
Consider these essential plugins:
- Cache plugins: Prevent server overload, increase site speed
- SEO plugins: Handles titles, meta, xml sitemaps, breadcrumbs, permalinks, and ease to search engine visibility
- Comment System plugins: If setup for social media integration, this will allow visitors to leave comments on your website via their social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter.
Recommended: There are too many great comment systems to chose from, search for a high ranked plugin in the WordPress plugin dashboard.
5. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of internet marketing and an industry which involves the promotion of a website by following procedures to increase the visibility in search engine results pages (SERPS), etc.. If your WordPress website is invisible to search engines like Bing or Google, the chances are your website will be very unsuccessful. Online visibility is the goal, optimizing everything has been our guideline from the start. We do not discuss paid inclusions or advertisements in this article.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine opimization (SEO) is a subset of SEM which involves the process if improving website visibility by way or strategic protocols and basic guidelines.
Discussing SEO could take years of material for us to write. In the meantime there are plenty of great SEO resource and blogs which identify optimization tactics and updates.
It is recommended to use a SEO WordPress plugin to achieve the best results for your website.
We’ve discussed that SEO plugins will cover the basic protocols of optimization, but aside from things like site title, or meta description there are strategies to keep in mind to produce an efficiently visible WordPress blog.
- 301 redirect: If your SEO plugin does not provide an automatic 301 redirect, it is important that you acquire one which does so. This debunks any website duplication penalties that might arise on your website from viewing http://www.yourdomain.com and http://yourdomain.com. They are they same website, but the www. turns them into 2 separate pages, which shows up as duplicate content, and will overall harm your website on SERPS.
- Social Sharing: Social sharing is a necessity. Sharing your material through networks like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter can be the sole reason a certain post, or even image maintains or achieves a high level of success.
Website Content and Keyword Strategy
The complexity of content and keyword strategy can not be discussed in a few paragraphs.
Website content is essential for a successful WordPress website. The more content, and the more unique the content is, the more search engines like Google will reward you.
Keywords are what search engines use to identify your website in SERPS. Keywords are used as different functions and in this scenario are meant to reveal your website contents reasoning to the visitor. Keywords are the terms which people may use to search for material which may be linked to your website.
Keyword: Text Enhance
If you are to search for “Text Enhance” on Google you will notice our website (here) is located on the first page.
“Text Enhance” is one of our keywords, or search queries.
How to apply keywords into your content
Your page title, image titles and alt tags, permalinks, descriptions, and content should contain your desired keywords in their structure.
For example: Our keyword “Text Enhance” is included in the permalink for the landing page for our desired landing page: http://botcrawl.com/how-to-remove-text-enhance/
We have also included Text Enhance in the title and alt tag of all images of our landing page, but in a unique fashion. http://botcrawl.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Text-Enhance-Malware.png is the name and URL of a single image on our WordPress webpage.
When applying keywords to website content it is suggested to include keywords in 5% of all words without over stuffing. If you have written a 500 word WordPress blog, then 25 words should relate to your keywords.
- Image optimization: When displaying any images on your website is is important to fill out all alt tags. Alt tags, meaning alternative text. An alt attribute describes an image and is used as a screen reader for audio software (used by the blind). Aside from the obvious benefits of alt tags, search engines love them and will index your images into their database better, as well as more relevant to searched keywords.